Kathryn Hamrick, who wrote columns for several years for this news journal and for three decades in local newspapers, has compiled nearly 100 of her approximately 1,250 columns into a book titled The Farmer’s Wife.
During about half the span of her professional writing career her husband Cline and other family members ran a dairy farm in Cleveland County, N.C. The rural setting provided much fodder for Kathryn’s funny and insightful observations on life.
Her upbringing also impacted the way the Wake Forest University graduate, who never intended to be “a farmer’s wife,” sees the world.
“Almost everything I know about life came from growing up in a Baptist parsonage,” she writes in one column.
Often she references the influences of Baptist Training Union and other experiences of being immersed in this church tradition with the added identity of being a P.K.
Her move into writing inspiring and funny observations for publication began at “a Rook party” — a beyond-church social gathering many Baptists considered as much a part of their shared culture as potluck dinners and promotion Sunday. (Rook was a Baptist-approved option to a deck of evil playing cards prone to induce gambling.)
Actually, the genesis of her writing career goes back to childhood disobedience — putting her 4-year-old hands on her father’s Royal typewriter that was to be off limits.
She confessed that sin in one column, adding: “Therefore, before I learned phonics, the alphabet, or what it means to be a Baptist, I could type faster than Daddy.”
Kathryn spins tales of her husband taking up frog gigging upon retirement from farming and her son Jason taking up banjo as a teen — influenced by the master picking of Cleveland County legend Earl Scruggs.
Her son’s seismic shift from Prince, Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin to Scruggs, the Lewis Family and Riverbend Bluegrass she deemed a “modern miracle.”
Shopping, writes Kathryn in another column, is not the best bonding experience for many couples: “For every marriage made in heaven, two are finished off at Kmart.”
In her acknowledgments, Kathryn thanked her husband, children and mother — all who made multiple appearances in her writings. Also she thanked “our cows.”
Retaining a fair dose of Baptist-induced guilt, she once wondered: “Hopefully writing columns about my nutty mother is not a violation of the Ten Commandments.”
Kathryn helps readers to see the humor in daily experiences as well as the value of investing in enduring relationships. Perhaps most importantly, she reminds readers to take faith and family seriously without taking oneself too seriously.
A sample of Kathryn’s writings and other information may be found at kathrynhamrick.com where the book can be ordered. NFJ
By John D. Pierce